Writing with Animals
“Some animals, given the miraculous gift of speech, can also testify to human experience.” Poet Alan Felsenthal, in a recent course description, invited writers to explore relationships with the animals in their world. Have you had an encounter with an animal recently? Did you hear its voice?
Use this to inspire your work in any form (poetry or prose; fiction of any genre; creative nonfiction, essay, or memoir). See some examples below.
Log into our virtual meeting at 1pm here for readings and discussion.
If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 12pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.
Examples of writing with animals from recent literature:
“Fox 8” by George Saunders tells a fable to inspire compassion through a fox that learns to write (but not to spell, at least not very well). “One day, walking neer one of your Yuman houses, smelling all the interest with snout, I herd, from inside, the most amazing sound. Turns out, what that sound is, was: the Yuman voice, making werds. They sounded grate! They sounded like prety music! . . . I was fast and nated by those music werds, and desired to understand them total lee.”
The Bear, a short novel by Andrew Krivak, tells a post-apocalyptic fable from the point of view of the last girl on Earth. After her father’s death, she learns how to survive and live in harmony with nature to old age by opening herself to non-verbal but highly nuanced conversation with a bear.
River River Writers’ Circle board member David Bell photographs and posts a series of birds at the feeder outside his lockdown home, #atthebirdfeeder on Facebook. The birds’ images suggest captions ranging from aphorism to comic quip to full-on poetry.
Let your sense of wonder, surprise, and play guide you!